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S P E C S E RV LIC B U P S& HIC T E FOR TER N E C

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am rogr ject P h o rc Chu Film Pr k c la y ric B tor Histo ral His O

: r e v r a y t C i . n u W . m G Com l A o o h c MIAMILAW S University of Miami School of Law


“It was wonderful, because we were like a family; we lived together, we went to school together, we ate together … Carver was like a family and [like] Coconut Grove... It’s just tremendous how wonderful we got along…” ~Jimmy Ingram Featured Carver Alumnus

Photo: Cub Scouts*


Contents The Historic Black Church Oral History Film Project Ransom Everglades School Partnership Carver’s History Carver Alumni Biographies Leona Cooper Baker James Bethel Mary Cambridge Reverend Rudolph Daniels Willie C. Daniels Alexine Delancy Daton Fullard Jimmy Ingram Thelma Gibson Patricia Harper-Garrett Theodore Johnson Reynold Martin Dorothy Powell Lee Alvin Richardson Naomi McLeod Sharp Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson Dr. Arthur Woodard Screening of G. W. Carver: A Community School Special Thanks

2 5 6 10 11 11 12 13 16 17 17 18 19 20 20 23 24 25 25 26 27 32 34

On the cover: George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets marching band* *Select photos provided by Bob Simms Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.


“We went to a segregated school, but the knowledge that we got was not segregated knowledge.� ~Judith Jones Johnson Featured Carver Alumna

Photos: (Top) Children of George Washington Carver Elementary School; (Bottom) George Washington Carver Senior High School graduates*


The Historic Black Church Oral History Film Project The Historic Black Church Oral History Film Project signals an unprecedented campus-community partnership intended to preserve the rich cultural and social history of faith-based communities of color in South Florida, support universitywide interdisciplinary collaboration, and educate a new generation of high school, college, and graduate students about the crucial leadership role of Historic Black Churches in Afro-Caribbean-American communities.

In the 2011 – 2012 academic year, three third year law student fellows—Erica Gooden, Erika Kane, and Quinshawna Landon— led a research team of first and second year law student interns in an effort to document the important history of George Washington Carver High School, now a Middle School, in Coconut Grove Village West (“the West Grove”) in cooperation with students and faculty from Ransom Everglades School, the University of Miami’s School of Communication and Otto G. Richter Library Department of Special Collections, the George Washington Carver Alumni Association, and the Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance. 2

During the Jim Crow era, Carver was one of the only schools in MiamiDade County open to Afro-Caribbean-American students. In examining the history of this period, the team uncovered complex social issues related to racial segregation, integration, and community. For example, James Bethel, a Carver alumnus, observed:

“We took pride in our school. It wasn’t a large school. It wasn’t a large faculty. It wasn’t a large student body, but we took pride in it. It was our school. Integration took that pride from us, dispersed us.” ~James Bethel Featured Carver Alumnus


During the academic year, the Oral History Project team each week explored the themes of cultural and social history, particularly the unanticipated effects of desegregation and integration, with high school students from Ransom Everglades School. Ransom students in turn interviewed Jim Crow era Carver graduates, presented their archival findings at a weekly oncampus seminar, and produced this chapbook for publication. In addition, the Project team worked closely with students and faculty from the School of Communication to record and film the interviews, as well as with University librarians to create an archival exhibit. The Project team gives special thanks to its partners—Ransom Everglades School, the School of Communication, Richter Library, George Washington Carver Alumni Association, and the Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance—for their assistance and enthusiasm. The team also thanks Program Manager Cindy McKenzie for her constant support and tireless effort. Third-Year Fellows Erica Gooden Erika Kane Quinshawna Landon Second-Year Interns Amanda Darlington Alexa Diambois First-Year Volunteers Pamela Adewoyin Jewell Reddick Christine Tudor


“The rallying point was ‘don’t let your circumstances hold you back, or let you or not let you achieve what you were capable of achieving;’ we heard that! It was drummed into us all, ‘the time that you have to be better as you get up in life, you have to be better. Just because things are the way they are now with us, doesn’t mean it has to be for you. And it is up to you to take advantage of your education to do better.’” ~Theodore Johnson Featured Carver Alumnus


Ransom Everglades School Partnership The Oral History Project has truly evolved into an exceptional endeavor seeking to guarantee that the history of Coconut Grove, and the West Grove in particular, is protected. One of the special parts of this project is the involvement of high school students from Ransom Everglades School and their vital role in preserving the rich culture of the West Grove that continues today. Our students have enjoyed talking to such a diverse group of people and have been thoroughly engaged in the stories that depict the growth of the West Grove. And while these stories are both happy and sad, our students have been able to portray how a community played such a vital role in our country’s history. We have seen how new Bahamian families found a better life, how the Civil Rights Movement created hardships and opportunities, and how a community came together and made a difference. When Paul Ransom arrived here in 1897, it is well documented that he knew of the significant Bahamian culture and the pioneering people who called this area their new home. As neighbors, we have a deep respect for the history and the culture that continues to support us as we support them. It is our goal to make sure this project is sustainable and continues to enrich the lives of this community and the greater Miami area. That is why it is an honor, a privilege, and our duty to serve this community and ensure that its strong history is never forgotten. Dr. Donald A. Cramp, Jr., Dean of Students, Ransom Everglades School

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Carver’s History By Amanda Darlington University of Miami School of Law

In the early 1800s, there were no schools for black children in what is now known as Coconut Grove.1 In 1898 black parents in the neighborhood organized a school for their children.2 Reverend John Davis of Greater St. Paul A.M.E. Church was hired as a teacher of this small school on Charles Avenue.3 In 1924, a Coral Gables developer offered the Board of Education five acres of land on Grand Avenue and Lincoln Drive, and a newly designed nine room Spanish-styled building in exchange for an unfinished building on Le Jeune Road.4 The new school on Grand Avenue and Lincoln Drive served black students from as far away as Homestead.5 The school was known as the Dade County Training School, and housed elementary, junior, and high school-level students.6 Beginning in 1934, one high school class was added each year until the first senior class graduated in 1939.7 Francis S. Tucker, a Tuskegee University graduate, and friend of Dr. George Washington Carver, became principal of the school, then known as Coconut Grove Junior High School, in 1929.8 Dr. George Washington Carver was an American agricultural chemist, agronomist, and inventor whose development of new products derived from peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans helped revolutionize the agricultural economy of the South. Dr. Carver spent most of 6

his career teaching and conducting research at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Tuskegee, Alabama.9 In 1942 – 1943, Ms. Tucker led a movement to rename the elementary and high school in the extraordinary Dr. Carver’s honor.10 George Washington Carver High School quickly became the center of community pride in Coconut Grove. Many attribute the success of Carver graduates to the school’s focus on academics and the close relationships the students shared with their teachers. While Carver’s football and basketball games enthusiastically entertained the Grove, its students’ achievements in the classroom continued to further the strength and bonds of the community. Due to federally mandated school integration, Carver High graduated its last senior class in 1966.11 Senior high school students were transferred to Coral Gables Senior High School, and the former high school became Carver Junior High.12 During the 1985 – 86 school year, Carver’s population dropped to 53% of capacity.13 After many meetings with community and school officials, Carver become a magnet school in international education.14 Since 1987, Carver has served as a magnet school housing both an international studies program and an international baccalaureate preparation program


for middle school students.15 Moreover, since Carver’s conversion to a magnet school, racial dynamics have changed from a predominantly black school to a predominately Hispanic school.16 The 1994 – 1995 school year illustrates Carver’s changing racial dynamics in its student population when composition shifted to

39.4 percent Hispanic, 37.2 percent white non-Hispanic, and 21.6 percent black.17 By 2009 – 2010, Carver’s student population had shifted further to 61.8 percent Hispanic, 28 percent white non-Hispanic, and 7.7 percent black.18

1 2

Marvin Dunn, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century 237 (University Press of Florida 1997). Dorothy Jenkins Field, Reflections on Black History Cocoanut Grove 1880 – 1903: A Selected Chronology, Update Historical Association of Southern Florida 3, 12 (Dec. 1975) http://www.historymiami.org/files/resources/update-v3-n2.pdf. 3 Id. 4 History of Our School, George Washington Carver Middle School, http://gwcm.dadeschools.net/Historial_Information.html (last visited April 1, 2012) [hereinafter Middle School]. 5 Id. 6 Id. 7 Id. 8 Ashley Davis, Francis S. Tucker papers, 1921 – 1964, The Black Archives History & Research http://www.theblackarchives.org/ archon/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=123&q=&rootcontentid=2356 (last visited April 1, 2012). 9 George Washington Carver, Biography, http://www.biography.com/people/george-washington-carver-9240299 (last visited Mar 24, 2012). 10 Middle School, supra note 4. 11 Id. 12 Id. 13 Id. 14 Id. 15 Id. 16 See Marvin Dunn, supra, note 1, at 237. 17 George Washington Carver Middle School , School Digger, http://www.schooldigger.com/go/FL/schools/0039000546/ school.aspx (last visited April 1, 2012). 18 Id.

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“[In] that particular time, the schools and the churches were really the center of activity in the community. A lot of programs were held either at Carver or at one of the churches, so Carver was very active in the whole community.” ~Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson Featured Carver Alumna

Photo: “Miss Carver High and Attendants” on a float in a parade on Grand Avenue*


Carver Alumni Biographies

Photo: Dorothy Powell Lee, drum majorette, featured Carver Alumna*


Leona Cooper Baker By Alexa Diambois University of Miami School of Law Leona Louise Cooper Baker was born in 1936, and raised in the Golden Gate neighborhood in Coral Gables. She attended George Washington Carver School from first through twelfth grade, and graduated in 1954 when the Supreme Court handed down the school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Ms. Cooper Baker has wonderful memories of walking to school because her house was, and is still, located across the street from Carver. She also has fond recollections of her teachers. Ms. Cooper Baker’s favorite teachers included Mrs. Kate Dean, the mother of Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson, and Ms. Naomi Adams who taught home economics. Ms. Cooper Baker also remembers the effects of segregation. Carver students were provided secondhand books that were previously used at a white high school in the area. She was forced to sit in the back of the bus during childhood. She also recalls students being bused from all over South Miami including Perrine, Goulds, Homestead, and Florida City. When Ms. Cooper Baker was in tenth grade, the school district stopped busing students from Mayes Middle School to Carver for high school, resulting in a smaller graduating class in 1954. After graduating from Carver in 1954, Ms.

Cooper Baker attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she majored in elementary education with a minor in psychology. Ms. Cooper Baker’s passion for teaching was ignited during her time at Carver when she participated in the Future Teachers of America. She graduated in 1960, after taking time off to work for two years to support her family. Ms. Cooper Baker began her teaching career at Rainbow Park Elementary in OpaLocka, Florida, where schools remained segregated. She later taught at Carver for two and a half years. In 1970, Ms. Cooper Baker moved to Shenandoah Elementary where she continued to teach for 22 years. She worked as an educator in the Miami-Dade County school system for a total of 32 years. Ms. Cooper Baker advises future generations of young, black students to do their best in order to gain the respect of others. She also advocates for the development of parental workshops to teach parents how to take care of their children and how to get involved with their children’s schools. Ms. Cooper Baker’s life as an instrumental educator continues to inspire family and friends.

James Bethel By Max Dimitrijev Ransom Everglades School James Bethel is a Carver graduate who has excelled in multiple aspects of his life. 11


Photo: George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets cheerleaders*

He attended Carver for twelve years before graduating in 1954. Mr. Bethel remembers his years at Carver as among the happiest in his long, fulfilling life. He describes his time at Carver as “wholesome,” and fondly remembers the camaraderie he felt with his classmates. Mr. Bethel said it was “a joy to go to school,” and his teachers “made it admirable to attend Carver.” Mr. Bethel also enjoyed the sense of family that he felt with the rest of the Coconut Grove community. He believed that people in the community looked after each other and cared about being part of the community. Mr. Bethel was a member of the band at Carver and an accomplished athlete. He was a county champion in tennis and an avid player of football, basketball, and baseball. At the time he played for the City of Miami Park team. His team had to travel in trucks instead of buses due to segregation. These trucks were not safe, and only contained side rails to protect the players from harm. When he attended school, Mr. Bethel dealt with the injustice of segregation. In 1954, he drank from a “whites only” water fountain, and was confronted by an angry white child. Although segregation caused injustice and suffering in the black community, Mr. Bethel believes that “integration was a sword without a sharpened edge” and that “integration killed the spirit of Coconut Grove.” Mr. Bethel was an accomplished scholar 12

who graduated from high school with honors, and then attended Morehouse College from 1954 to 1957. He eventually graduated from Bethune-Cookman University in 1961. Mr. Bethel later received a master’s degree in administrative supervision from Nova Southeastern University. In 1969, Mr. Bethel married. He and his wife have two children.

Mary Cambridge By Wes Villano Ransom Everglades School Mary Cambridge moved to the West Grove from Georgia with her family in 1933 when she was in third grade. She was immediately enrolled in Carver and remained there until she graduated in 1942. During her time at Carver, the school was segregated. She always wished Carver were integrated stating, “I really wanted to be with other races that way we could all learn from each other.” Ms. Cambridge was the captain and star guard of the Carver women’s basketball team. She traveled throughout South Florida to compete against other teams. Ms. Cambridge can still recall many of her teachers’ names, and she would often invite them over to her house for dinner. She remembers that “there was a close relationship with the teachers and students; it seemed like family.” Ms. Cambridge graduated third in her class. She was one of the few members


Photo: George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets marching band majors and majorettes*

of the graduating class to attend college. Ms. Cambridge attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and majored in sociology. She worked as a social worker for 10 years. She also served as a substitute teacher for a multitude of schools. Ms. Cambridge even spent a summer in Maine as a nanny for the children of a local Unitarian minister. She married and had children; one of whom attended Carver. Carver had a huge impact on her life, and directly contributed to her later success in life.

Reverend Rudolph Daniels By Quinshawna Landon University of Miami School of Law Reverend Rudolph Daniels was born in South Carolina. In 1941, his parents, who were farmers, moved Reverend Daniels and his family to Miami to start a new life. Married for 57 years, his parents raised twelve children in Coconut Grove. Looking back on his childhood, Reverend Daniels described his experience as a beautiful time and cites the love and dedication of his parents and teachers as the reason for his family’s success. Reverend Daniels has served as the pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church for 29 years. Several of Reverend Daniel’s siblings have earned their masters and doctorate degrees. Reverend Daniels attended Carver from 1941 to 1951. He describes his time at Carver

as a wonderful experience. Reverend Daniels was involved in several activities, such as art, chorus, track, and football. Coached by Nathaniel “Traz” Powell, Reverend Daniels played tight end for a very successful football team. During two seasons, 1948 and 1949, the team lost only three games. He fondly recalls that Coach Powell taught him how to block by encouraging him to “get back up” even after he was knocked down. Reverend Daniels remembers that his teachers truly cared for students and regarded them as if they were their own children. His teachers would come to his home if he missed a day of school. In a time where the challenges of discrimination and segregation were prevalent, the Grove and Carver were a safe haven. Although Reverend Daniels encountered incidents of discrimination, he was taught to know who he was, how to conduct himself, and to understand the differences in others. The Carver faculty instilled in Reverend Daniels the principles of dignity and respect for all. After graduating from Carver, Reverend Daniels worked for Ford Motor Company and the Metro Bus. He then taught at Miami Jackson Senior High School for 23 years. Reverend Daniels retired from the school system in 1995. Reverend Daniels also served a deacon and a trustee for his church from 1970 to 1980. In 1983, Reverend Daniels answered God’s call to pastor. 13


“The teachers cared so much; if you missed a day from school, they would come to your house.� ~Reverend Rudolph Daniels Featured Carver Alumnus

Photo: Teachers, administrators, and staff of George Washington Carver Elementary, Junior, and Senior High Schools*


Photo: Dean Kate Stirrups, Dean of Students, George Washington Carver Junior and Senior High School*

Willie C. Daniels By Pamela Adewoyin University of Miami School of Law Willie C. Daniels, a native of Coconut Grove, attended George Washington Carver from 1939 until 1951. Mr. Daniels had nine siblings, all of whom attended Carver with him until his mother and five of his siblings moved to New Jersey. Growing up, his father was a gardener, and his mother was a homemaker. Both parents played active roles in his life, ensuring that Mr. Daniels got the best out of his classes at Carver. Mr. Daniels studied at Carver from the first grade to the twelfth grade, while the school was still segregated. There was no integration at the time so the population of the West Grove was almost entirely black, and Carver was comprised of all black students and teachers. As a resident of the Grove, Carver was the only school that Mr. Daniels could attend, because there were no buses to transport students to other schools in other areas. While at Carver, Mr. Daniels thoroughly enjoyed himself and described his years at the school as a happy time. Mr. Daniels was a dedicated student both inside and outside of the classroom. He was actively involved in sports, and served as the athletic trainer for the football, basketball, and track teams. He often participated in field trips, dances, and parties. One of the most memorable events he recalls 16

at Carver was when the park next to Carver, now known as Esther Mae Armbrister Park, installed lighting because it gave students the ability to play sports outside in the evening. After Mr. Daniels graduated from Carver in 1951, he attended Florida A&M University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. He traveled all over the South in his position as athletic trainer for the university, and even had opportunities to travel up to North Carolina. Mr. Daniels worked at Point Sienna Park Elementary School for 15 years until the school was integrated. He was transferred to Cutler Ridge Elementary School where he worked for 32 years. Throughout those years he enjoyed teaching children, especially watching them attend college and then come back to visit him to tell him all about their experiences. Mr. Daniels retired in 1989. After serving as a teacher, Mr. Daniels feels genuinely happy about the education that he received as a child at Carver. The parents and teachers knew each other well, and there were a lot of mentors in the community who helped raise the students, even though they were not their parents. The tight community is something that Mr. Daniels believes has changed since he attended Carver. During his time at Carver, other parents would teach him how to act, and the teachers were heavily concerned about not only students’ studies, but also their upbringing and behavior. Today’s students,


Photo: Principal Frances S. Tucker*

he explained, do not experience the same type of childhood that he had. Despite these differences, Mr. Daniels loved Carver when he attended the school, and still feels just as passionate today about his experiences.

Alexine Delancy By Erika Kane University of Miami School of Law Alexine Delancy attended the Carver school from 1936 to 1948. She began attending the school, which was named Dade County Training School, when she was in first grade. The name was changed when Ms. Delancy was in seventh grade. Ms. Delancy recalls auditioning to recite a poem about the life of George Washington Carver for the dedication ceremony when the school name was officially changed. She describes the moving experience when she heard her classmate Grace Sands, who won the role, audition. Ms. Delancy auditioned first and thought she secured the role until she heard Grace recite the poem. “It brought tears to my eyes… I will always remember that.” Ms. Delancy stated that “Carver was the backbone of the community” when she was growing up in the “Village” of Coconut Grove. She fondly remembers her time at Carver recalling that the students at the school were “like one big family.” Ms. Delancy’s favorite memories of high school were the

times she spent traveling with the football and basketball team as part of her duties serving as Miss Carver High. Ms. Delancy greatly appreciated the teachers and administrators at Carver. Her favorites were her English and homeroom teacher, Ms. Naomi Adams, and Pricipal Frances S. Tucker. Ms. Delancy recalls the time she was discovered with chicken pox before a Girl Scout program and Principal Tucker took her to her own house and gave Ms. Delancy calamine lotion to ease her pain. This example is one of the many in which the teachers and faculty at Carver created a family-like environment for the students. Ms. Delancy attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina where she majored in physical education and health, and received a minor in biology. Ms. Delancy devoted her career to teaching in the Miami-Dade County school system. At first, she taught physical education for seven years. She later became certified in elementary education, and taught second grade for five years. She also served as a school librarian for 25 years until she retired in 1989. Ms. Delancy still lives in Coconut Grove.

Daton Fullard By Laura Cadena Ransom Everglades School Daton Fullard attended Carver from 1952 to 1966. Although Mr. Fullard lost his mother, an 17


“[It] was a big thing for us to be able to name our school after the great George Washington Carver, who had died.” ~Thelma Gibson Featured Carver Alumna

intelligent schoolteacher, a year after his birth, he acquired her love of learning. In fact, Mr. Fullard won a bet while in high school to read all of the books in the library during a time span of six weeks. Mr. Fullard’s father, who was virtually gone during the first few years of his life due to military ties, was another great influence. Although his father was a “man of few words,” he supported Mr. Fullard wholeheartedly in all of his endeavors, reminding him never to let anything “get in his way.” While Mr. Fullard attended Carver, the social turmoil of the Vietnam War and civil rights had reached its peak. He experienced a “powerful awakening” when one of his peers was drafted and later died in Vietnam. All of a sudden the reality of America’s situation became much clearer to him. As a black citizen during the 1960s, the issue of racial dynamics was never far from his mind. Mr. Fullard was exposed to, and witnessed different types of racism firsthand. The racial turmoil Mr. Fullard experienced was intensified when he became a part of the first class at Carver to integrate to a different school. As a result, he was forced to attend Miami Southwest High School. There, Mr. Fullard felt that he had to constantly “fight” to get through the school day. For this reason, he and his father decided that he should return to Carver. In a world torn by the opposing ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King’s non-violence 18

and the Black Panther Party’s radicalism, Mr. Fullard’s family believed Carver was a “safe place” for him. After his experience at Carver, Mr. Fullard became a musician. During this time he met well-renowned artists like Ella Fitzgerald and B. B. King. In fact, he was directly involved in bringing Carlos Santana and Janis Joplin to Miami. After his successful career in music, Mr. Fullard became involved in television for many years. Mr. Fullard is currently involved in a project to create an archive for his classmates’ experiences at Carver.

Jimmy Ingram By Laura Cadena Ransom Everglades School Jimmy Ingram, a proud alumnus of Carver, was born in Coconut Grove in 1940. Mr. Ingram recalls his time in Carver as idyllic, and safe from the drug culture and violence that seem to be so prevalent in today’s public high schools. Mr. Ingram believes that those negative characteristics, compounded by the lack of emphasis some families place on education, have weakened the Carver experience over the years. Despite the fact that Carver was a segregated school at the time, Mr. Ingram “liked it as it was.” It was not until later in his life that Mr. Ingram was able to assess this cultural history critically. Overall, it seems that Carver provided


Photo: George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets football team*

Mr. Ingram with a safe community where he was able to actively participate in sports and form close relationships with his peers. After high school, Mr. Ingram attended one semester at Fort Valley State University before returning home to help his single mother. Mr. Ingram is now a proud father and grandfather, and a valuable member of our oral history project.

Thelma Gibson By Adrian Grant-Alfieri Ransom Everglades School Thelma Vernell Anderson Gibson attended George Washington Carver from 1932, when she was in the first grade, until she graduated in 1944. She has very fond memories of her time at Carver, which she writes about in her book, Forbearance. When she attended Carver, both the school and her neighborhood in Coconut Grove were segregated. She grew up in a home with 11 other family members. She recalls that as a child her mother always stressed the importance of education, and put all her attention into her children while working as a housekeeper every day of the week. Mrs. Gibson remembers that “our high school was a community,” at that time, and “there was interplay between the church and the school and the community.” Throughout her childhood, her family attended Christ Episcopal Church. Mrs. Gibson finished high school at the

age of 17. After graduating, she found a shortterm job busing tables at a small restaurant on Main Highway called La Casita. While working there, she applied to several nursing schools. She ended up attending her church’s school, which was a magnet school for nursing in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a three-year school, and afterward she passed the state boards and became a registered nurse. Following nursing school, Mrs. Gibson worked at several clinics and other nursing schools until she was accepted by Jackson Hospital. Jackson Hospital refused to allow her to work in the operating room, only allowing her to work on the “colored” floor. She worked on the “colored” floor for two years, but quit once she realized she would never be permitted to work in the operating room. She then worked in a Miami-Dade health clinic downtown for a year, and later moved to a hospital in Washington DC for a year. Mrs. Gibson returned to Jackson Hospital in 1951, and worked on the “colored” floor until 1955. Throughout this time, she never once saw the operating room. In 1967, Mrs. Gibson married and became a supervisor of nurses at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center outpatient clinic. She retired on December 31, 1980. Since then she has been an active alumni member at Carver High School and a dedicated volunteer in Coconut Grove. 19


“... athletics were a part of the social fabric of Coconut Grove.” ~Theodore Johnson Featured Carver Alumnus

Patricia Harper-Garrett By Laura Cadena Ransom Everglades School Patricia Harper-Garrett graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1963. During her time at Carver, she was a member of the Y teams, majorettes, the choir, and Future Teachers of America. To say the least, Ms. Harper-Garrett was extremely involved. In fact, in her tenth grade yearbook, she was named one of the Queens of the school, a title she still prides herself on today. Coming from a family of many school teachers, education was definitely stressed in her home, something she has passed on to her two daughters. When Ms. Harper-Garrett attended Carver the concept of integration was practically nonexistent. Nonetheless, Ms. Harper-Garrett felt happy and contented with her teen life. She felt that her parents and society shielded her from the racial hostility that existed at the time. In Ms. Harper-Garrett’s eyes, racism was defined as things that she could or could not do. Ms. Harper-Garrett recalls that seeing the “WHITE” and “BLACK” signs posted never made her feel “less than anybody else.” Both her family and her community at Carver had instilled a sense of confidence in her that Ms. Harper-Garrett still exudes today. In fact, Ms. Harper-Garrett described her years at Carver as “happy.” However, this happiness did not blind her completely to the time’s injustices. 20

She was deeply influenced by the Emmet Till incident, in which a young boy of 14 was beaten, tied to concrete blocks, and thrown in a river for supposedly whistling at a white girl. She also recalls her bus rides from her home in Richmond Heights to Carver, because at the time Palmetto High School was segregated. After graduating from Carver, Ms. HarperGarrett became involved as a singer on the TV show called Teen Bandstand. She was even invited to sign with a record label. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and served as a parole officer after college. Ms. Harper-Garrett decided to put her degree and passion for serving others to use by following her family’s footsteps and becoming involved in education. Ms. Harper-Garrett is now an active leader in her chapter of the Red Hat Society, and was recently involved in President Obama’s presidential campaign.

Theodore Johnson By Erica Gooden University of Miami School of Law Theodore Johnson, also known as “Teddy,” attended George Washington Carver from 1952 to 1964. He started at Carver when he was in kindergarten, and received his entire primary education there. During that time, Carver was an elementary, junior high, and senior high school. Mr. Johnson recalls that his twelve years at Carver were filled


Photo: Jimmy Douglas defeats Bobby Sher in the 100 yard dash*


Photo: Archie Williams (standing) and Ernest Hart (kneeling), co-captains of the George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets football team*


“Teachers had a vested interest in schools, because they lived in the community.” ~Reynold Martin Featured Carver Alumnus

with camaraderie. He believes the students had a close bond because everyone in the community knew each other. This close bond was illustrated when the entire school came to support Carver’s athletic teams, especially the football team. Mr. Johnson remembers that athletics were a part of the social fabric of Coconut Grove. Mr. Johnson also stated that his favorite teacher, Robert Simms, used sports to give the students insights on life. “Through competition, he taught us how that was necessary to … [get] along with people.” Mr. Simms, a physical education teacher, had a great impact on Mr. Johnson. Mr. Simms encouraged Mr. Johnson to attend Xavier University in New Orleans. Mr. Johnson attended Xavier University in 1964 until he graduated in 1968. He currently works as a graphics designer.

Reynold Martin By Christine Tudor University of Miami School of Law Reynold Martin was born and raised in Coconut Grove. His oldest memories are of his parents taking him to visit other relatives’ homes in the neighborhood and attending St. Alban’s Child Enrichment Center, which abutted Tucker Elementary School. In 1963, Mr. Martin went back to Carver for middle school and part of high school. His house

was close enough to Carver that he was able to walk to school. He transferred to Coral Gables High School following integration in 1966. Mr. Martin recalls fond memories of life at Carver. The students were active and industrious, even making homemade scooters and playing games like “Stingin’ Marie,” a derivative of baseball. Mr. Martin believes success of Carver graduates can be attributed to the devotion of the teachers. The teachers at Carver had a vested interest in the success of their students because they were a part of the same community as the students and often lived in the Grove. Mr. Martin describes the time when the community realized that Carver was to become a magnet middle as a sad day. Many who attended Carver had to transfer in 1966 to schools like Coral Gables High School. The change, however, was not sudden, as there were signs of its coming. This included the exchange of white teachers from Gables to Carver to teach certain classes. These changes were a cultural shock to many of the students. Once students moved to Coral Gables High, they also had to adjust to a longer commute. An unexpected benefit of this was that some students banded together and walked as a group to school, making special memories during these walks. There were negative experiences associated with the transfer as well. Mr. Martin 23


Photo: George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets baseball team*

reflects that one of the worst was when the Coral Gables High football coach cut him from the varsity football team following a scrimmage win in which Mr. Martin played well. This was particularly hurtful considering Mr. Martin’s love for the sport. The changes that integration brought were also felt in the Grove community. The area was integrated and whites began moving into the neighborhood. Some were openly hostile to the black community. Mr. Martin’s family moved closer to a white area, and he remembers a particular instance on Halloween while trick-or-treating when he and his friends were told by white officers to go back to “where they belong” because the officers did not expect black people to live that far North of the West Grove. In spite of this adversity, Mr. Martin overcame hostility to live a successful life, working as a middle and high school teacher and as a firefighter. Mr. Martin was the first of only 300 black students to attend Florida State University, and believes that the success he had at Florida State is credited to the preparation he received at Carver in the Grove. He is now retired.

Dorothy Powell Lee By Marli Scharlin Ransom Everglades School Dorothy Powell Lee attended Carver from 24

1943 to 1955. Her beginnings at Carver were filled with fun, but her life before grade school contained misfortune. Her mother died when she was 5 years old, and her widowed aunt cared for her. Ms. Lee attended Carver from first through twelfth grade. Ms. Lee participated in many school activities, including the YWCA, the school newspaper called the Carver Clarion, intramurals, the majorettes and the dance club. She was elected Miss Carver High in tenth grade and then again in the twelfth grade, but she relinquished the title because she wanted someone else to have the honor. After graduating in 1955 with the “Class of the Superiors,” she received a scholarship to Florida A&M University where she received a bachelor’s degree in physical education, recreation, and health. She had the honor of being elected Miss Varsity while at school at Florida A&M. During her time in Tallahassee, Ms. Lee met her husband. They were married in 1959. Ms. Lee earned her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in physical education, recreation and health. She continued her studies by taking advanced courses at the University of Miami after receiving her graduate degree. Ms. Lee devoted her career to education. She taught at Miami Killian Senior High School for 30 years. She especially enjoyed her time coaching the cheerleading squad for 18 years. Ms. Lee has been happily married for


Photo: George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets basketball team, 1954-1955*

52 years. They have one daughter and two grandchildren.

Alvin Richardson By Jewell Reddick University of Miami School of Law Alvin Richardson grew up in the Golden Gate neighborhood in Coral Gables. Mr. Richardson began his studies at George Washington Carver in the first grade in 1957. He was one of the many students who lived within walking distance of the school. Mr. Richardson fondly remembers the sporting events at Grand Avenue and Dixie Parks during elementary school. He also remembers Coach Powell, the football coach at Carver who was the first African American to score a touchdown at the Orange Bowl. Carver was known for its spirited pep rallies during football season. Mr. Richardson attended Carver until 1966 when he, along with other students from Coconut Grove, was integrated into Coral Gables Senior High School. Mr. Richardson describes his class at Carver as the “denied class” of 1969 because they started high school at Carver, but graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School when Carver became solely a junior high school. Mr. Richardson remembers being one of the three to four black students in each class at Coral Gables Senior High School.

After graduating from high school, Mr. Richardson joined the Army, where he served for ten years before returning to Miami. He remembers the great impact Carver had on the community because of the family feeling created by teachers at the school that lived in the neighborhood. Mr. Richardson serves as the president of what would have been the 1969 Carver alumni class. He currently works for the Miami-Dade Transit Department.

Naomi McLeod Sharp By Emmie Bultemeier Ransom Everglades School Naomi McLeod Sharp was a member of the first graduating class of what is now known as Carver. At the time, the school was called Dade County Training School. She started attending school there when she was in the first grade in 1926. Ms. Sharpe fondly remembers her “motherly” teachers at Dade County Training School. She participated in the social club, and enjoyed dressing up to attend school dances in the auditorium. She graduated in 1939 with the 11 other students in her grade. The friendships she made while at school were long lasting. Following graduation, Ms. Sharpe stayed home for a year and sewed to make money before attending professional sewing school with her sister. After leaving segregated 25


Photo: Nathaniel “Traz” Powell, coach of the George Washington Carver Senior High School Hornets football team*

Coconut Grove, life changed for Ms. Sharpe and she moved to New York. Her worldview was expanded when she met “so many different kinds and types of people,” and she learned more about politics and culture. She later returned to Florida and was married in 1958 in Miami. She had one son. She now attends the Church of Incarnation. Ms. Sharpe is grateful for the education she received in high school. She believes that the school was responsible for instilling good values in her. When she returned to Coconut Grove after 17 years away, she was pleased to learn that all the people she knew had become successful.

Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson By Max Dimitrijevic Ransom Everglades School Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson has led an incredible life. She has faced hardship from the time she was born. For example, her father died when she was only six weeks old. Despite this misfortune, she was able to rise above adversity. She graduated with honors from Carver High School in 1941. At the time, Carver, like most institutions in the South, was segregated, and therefore, unable to procure advanced scientific equipment. In fact, Dr. Simpson described the only scientific equipment in the school as “a Bunsen burner with no piped gas” and “some test tubes.” 26

Despite these conditions, Dr. Simpson was able to excel in mathematics and science. Dr. Simpson succeeded in other areas as well. For example, she learned how to cook in sixth grade thanks to Carver’s home economics program. She also participated in several extracurricular activities such as the Girl Scouts, and many community activities that took place in Coconut Grove. After graduating from Carver, Dr. Simpson attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee where she graduated magna cum laude. Dr. Simpson went on to become the first board certified black physician in the state of Florida. Dr. Simpson’s scholarly success has been paralleled by her successful family life. While working as an intern, Dr. Simpson got married and had her first child. Dr. Simpson soon after realized that as difficult as her internship was, it did not compare with the difficulties of being a mother. However, Dr. Simpson realized mothering was more rewarding than being an intern. Due to the difficulties of being both a dedicated mother and a hardworking physician, Dr. Simpson had to take her young son with her to the hospital where she worked. This caused some troubling, yet in hindsight, humorous situations. For example, Dr. Simpson’s three-year-old son once wandered into the emergency room while she was working. Luckily, he was not harmed and was shortly thereafter returned safely to bed.


“I had some of the best teachers, in fact I know I had some of the best teachers in the County.” ~Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson Featured Carver Alumna

Dr. Simpson’s marriage remains stronger than ever, even after 62 years. Dr. Simpson has been and still is a pillar in Coconut Grove and the black community. Her incredible life has shown how perseverance, intelligence, and fidelity can enable one to overcome even the most difficult obstacles.

Dr. Arthur Woodard By George Florez Ransom Everglades School Arthur Woodard was born on July 30, 1928 in Live Oak, Florida. He is the father of two children and two grandchildren. Over the years, Dr. Woodard has played a significant role in the academic and social development of numerous students throughout the state of Florida. Dr. Woodward originally began his high school education at Goulds Colored School (presently named Mace). Due to a low number of students at Goulds during his tenth grade year, Woodard and his classmates were transferred to George Washington Carver High School where Dr. Woodard graduated from in 1946. During his three years at Carver, Dr. Woodard was bused daily from Perrine to Coconut Grove. Many of his classmates at Carver were also bused coming as far away as Florida City, which is 29 miles south of Coconut Grove. As a high school student, Dr. Woodard

was focused and committed to academics as well as athletics. Like most black schools during times of educational segregation, Carver had only outdated books available to students. Nevertheless, Dr. Woodard became an exceptional student and football player. Though he was one of twelve siblings, Dr. Woodard’s mother played an active role in his education and helped him develop strong science and mathematical skills. This knowledge would help him throughout college and later in life. After graduating from Carver in 1946, Dr. Woodard voluntarily enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. One year after Dr. Woodard began his military training, his mother ironically received a notice in the mail stating that her son had been drafted to serve in the Army. Once his training concluded, Dr. Woodard was stationed in Hawaii, where he had the opportunity to play football at a United States Army post, Wheeler Field. At age 20, Dr. Woodard was able to return to Florida and attend Florida A&M University. There he joined the ROTC and served in the Army reserve as a Commissioned Officer. Once again, he found a way to balance both academics and athletics. He graduated with a B.S. in Physical Education, but also played on the football team where he won one Black National Championship and three Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. After graduating Dr. Woodard returned 27


to the Army where he served as a Second Lieutenant. Dr. Woodard would also serve in the Korean War, primarily in Fort Worth, Texas at the training command. It was here that Dr. Woodard learned the mathematics necessary to work with aircraft artillery, which was used to secure targets and shoot down planes using “tracker head” computers. Dr. Woodard was a part of the second atomic bomb test for the United States. Upon leaving the Army, Dr. Woodard married Mary Williams, a cheerleader and interpretive dancer at Florida A&M University. It was at this point that he decided to get involved in the educational system. In 1955, Dr. Woodard became the head football coach at Tivoli High School in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. He coached there for 14 years. During his last five seasons, the football team was undefeated, and perhaps most impressive, a large number of Dr. Woodard’s student athletes went on to become attorneys, doctors, teachers and judges. Dr. Woodard moved back to Miami in 1968 when schools integrated, and students were phased out of Tivoli High School. He then became an assistant football coach at Miami Central High School. Dr. Woodard went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational administration before becoming the assistant principal at Miami Edison High School, and later principal at Miami Douglas MacArthur High School North. 28

Dr. Woodard currently resides in Miami. He is now retired and primarily spends his time doing research on anatomy and physiology. Active in his community, Dr. Woodard is a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. He still pays a visit to George Washington Carver whenever he receives an alumni invitation.


Photos: (left and right) George Washington Carver Senior High School students in formal attire*


Photo: Jacob Nelson of George Washington Carver Senior High School, drum major*


“The teachers were like our parents; they loved the kids. They really respected us and taught us respect...” ~Reverend Rudolph Daniels Featured Carver Alumnus

“I went to school. Most of the time we didn’t have any books. When we got books they were old, but I went to school.” ~Jesse Hill Carver Alumnus


Screening of G. W. Carver: A Community School The 2012 Oral History Film screening of G. W. Carver: A Community School took place on the evening of April 5, 2012 at George Washington Carver Middle School in Coconut Grove, Florida. The film captured the pride of former Carver students and the success that the school and the Coconut Grove community nurtured in all of its students and residents.

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Featured Carver Alumni Samuel Armstrong, Sr. Leona Cooper Baker James Bethel Evelyn Brady Mary Cambridge Reverend Rudolph Daniels Willie Daniels Alexine Delancy Walter Frierson Daton Fullard Thelma Gibson Patricia Harper-Garrett Jimmy Ingram Dr. Mona Bethel Jackson Judith Jones Johnson Theodore Johnson Dorothy Powell Lee Reynold Martin Alvin Richardson Shirley Richardson Naomi McLeod Sharp Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson Zelma Siplin Dr. Arthur Woodard


Evening’s Program Welcome & Introductions Professor Anthony V. Alfieri Director, Center for Ethics & Public Service Donald Cramp, Jr. Dean of Students, Ransom Everglades School Erica Gooden Erika Kane Quinshawna Landon Historic Black Church Fellows Reverend Jeffrey Hamilton President, Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance Screening of

Awards Presentation Panel Discussion Closing Remarks

Photos provided by the featured Carver Alumni

G. W. Carver: A Community School

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Special Thanks Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance George Washington Carver Alumni Association Leona Cooper Baker Reynold Martin

George Washington Carver Middle School Libia A. Gonzales, Principal Vilma Gonzales, Secretary Carmen Perez-Salman, Teacher Thomas Sands, Teacher Warren Scippio, Teacher

Heavy Air Media Group Film Editors Javier Carrion Gerald Tiangco

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University of Miami School of Communication Professor Kim Grinfeder, Visual Journalism Maggie Steber, Resident Professional, Knight Center for International Media Students Jack Burrus Vanessa Castillo Jessica Daly Natalie Edger Ashley McKevitt Cayla Nimmo Daniel Osiason Danielle Peloquin Katie Sikora Sagette Van Embden JinJin Xu

Ransom Everglades School

University of Miami Otto G. Richter Library

Dr. Donald Cramp, Jr., Dean of Students George Florez, Sailing Coach Dr. John King, Director of Studies Sandra Montes, Administrative Assistant to Upper School Deans

Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections BĂŠatrice Colastin Skokan, Special Collections Librarian Bob Simms Collection Special Collections

Students Sofia Butnaru Emmie Bultemeier Laura Cadena Max Dimitrijevic Adrian Grant-Alfieri Marli Scharlin Wes Villano

University of Miami School of Law Professor Anthony V. Alfieri, Director, CEPS and Founder, Historic Black Church Program Cindy McKenzie, Program Manager, CEPS Ebonie Carter, Administrative Assistant, CEPS Professor Charlton Copeland


George Washington Carver Senior High School 1963 Dade County champions, 440 yard relay team*

To view the film, G. W. Carver: A Community School, visit www.law.miami.edu/ceps/hbcp.php


CEPS CENTER FOR ETHICS & PUBLIC SERVICE

Contact Us University of Miami School of Law 1311 Miller Drive Suite G287 Coral Gables, Florida 33146-8087 Ph: 305.284.3934 Fax: 305.284.1588 www.law.miami.edu/ceps ceps@law.miami.edu

MIAMILAW CEPS University of Miami School of Law

Center for Ethics and Public Service

Historic Black Church Program Oral History Film Project - G.W.Carver: A Community School  

Read about the bios, school and documentary film project "G.W. Carver: A Community School" which focused on a local school in Coconut Grove...

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